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A meeting of the White Council

The White Council, or Council of the Wise, was a group of Elves and Wizards of Middle-earth, formed in TA 2463 to counterbalance the growing power of Dol Guldur at the request of Lady Galadriel.


During the Second Age

There was also a Council of the Wise held in the mid-Second Age to discuss the growing power of Sauron in Mordor; this was also known as the First White Council and was led by Gil-galad. Several members of this council would also become prominent members of the Council in the Third Age.

During the Third Age

Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel at Rivendell

The White Council's head was the Wizard Saruman the White, (although Lady Galadriel wished for Gandalf the Grey to be made the leader of the group). Other members of the Council included the Bearers of the Three Rings of the Elves (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond Half-elven), Círdan the Shipwright (who had borne Narya, the Ring of Fire, before handing it on to Gandalf), Lord Glorfindel, and Radagast the Brown. It is assumed that others of the wise were also members of the White Council.

Members of the White Council

The White Council was formed in TA 2463 shortly after the end of the Watchful Peace.[1] In TA 2851 the White Council met to decide on whether to act on Gandalf's discovery that the Necromancer was actually Sauron and was at Dol Guldur, but Saruman dissuaded the others from taking action, claiming that the Dark Lord was defeated and could not regain his full strength. During this meeting Gandalf suspected Saruman of desiring to have the One Ring, and there was much tension between the two. However, in TA 2939, Saruman discovered that Sauron's servants were searching the Anduin near Gladden Fields, and that Sauron therefore had learned where Isildur had died and where the One Ring might be. Saruman did not inform the Council of this, but when they met again in TA 2941 Saruman finally agreed to an attack on Dol Guldur because he wanted to prevent Sauron from finding the Ring. Sauron was driven out of Dol Guldur, only to re-appear in Mordor in 2951, where he declared himself openly and began gathering power. The Council last met in TA 2953; at this meeting Saruman falsely claimed that the One Ring has been swept out into the sea. Afterward Saruman withdrew to Isengard, and fortified it.[2]

Portrayal in Adaptations

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the council is not called the White Council by name but described as the "great council of the white wizards, masters of lore, and great magic.' While there is no corresponding passage in the book, the White Council convenes in Rivendell during the Dwarves' stay. Gandalf presents his evidence to the council, warning them of the growing evil within Mirkwood, He reasons that Sauron and Smaug cannot be allowed to join forces, which is why the Quest of Erebor is so important. Elrond is skeptical, while Saruman is dismissive of Gandalf's claims. Galadriel however supports Gandalf, as she too can sense the evil presence, with Lothlorien being in close proximity with Mirkwood. Gandalf reveals the Morgul blade to the council, which is enough to convince Galadriel and Elrond that Sauron may have returned. The council is interrupted when they learn that the Dwarves have left Rivendell. Galadriel assures Gandalf that she will aid him if need be, before she departs. [3]

The council doesn't appear in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, although they are still active. Galadriel instructs Gandalf (and presumably Radagast) to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. Upon finding the tombs have been opened, Gandalf goes on a solo mission to Dol Guldur, where he finds that the Necromancer is indeed Sauron. [4]

The members of the White Council are seen gathering at Dol Guldur in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The attack on Dol Guldur in the film has some notable differences. In the book Gandalf left the company of the Dwarves to meet with the other council members, all of whom were ready to drive out Sauron at this point. In the film Gandalf has been incapacitated after encountering Sauron alone in Dol Guldur, necessitating his rescue by the rest of the council. Gandalf does not participate in this fight as a result; instead Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman are the main participants in the battle. The book indicates that Saruman lead the attack, but in the film it is Galadriel who leads the Council. Galadriel arrives first and rescues Gandalf, shortly before Elrond and Saruman arrive later to fight the Nazgul, while Radgast-- not here named as a member of the council-- takes Gandalf to safety. Sauron himself manifests before them and notably attempts to sway Galadriel to his side. She resists him, and ultimately Galadriel is the one to drive Sauron from Dol Guldur, rather than Saruman. In the book, Gandalf mentioned that it was by the devices of Saruman that Sauron was driven away. [5][6]

Translation around the world

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Wit Raad
Albanian Këshilli i Bardhë
Arabic المجلس الأبيض
Armenian Սպիտակ խորհուրդ
Basque Kontzilio Zuria
Belarusian Cyrillic белы Рада
Bengali হোয়াইট কাউন্সিল
Bosnian Bela Vijeća
Bulgarian Cyrillic Бял съвет
Burmese အဖြူကောင်စီ
Cambodian ក្រុមប្រឹក្សាសេត
Catalan Consell Blanc
Cebuano Puti nga Konseho
Chinese 聖白議會
Cornish Konsel Gwynn
Corsican Cunzigghiu Biancu
Croatian Bijela Vijeće
Czech Bílá Rada
Danish De vises råd
Dutch Witte Raad
Esperanto Blanka Konsilio
Estonian Valge Konsiilium
French Conseil Blanc
Fijian Matabose ni Vulavula
Filipino Konseho ng puting
Finnish Valkoinen Neuvosto
Georgian თეთრი საბჭო
German Weißer Rat
Greek Λευκό Συμβούλιο
Gujarati સફેદ કાઉન્સિલ
Haitian Creole Blan Konsèy
Hausa Farin majalisa
Hebrew המועצה הלבנה
Hindi सफेद परिषद
Hmong Sawv daws dawb
Hungarian Fehér Tanács
Icelandic Hvítur Ráðið
Indonesian Dewan Putih
Irish Gaelic Comhairle Bán
Italian Bianco Consiglio
Japanese ホワイト協議会
Javanese Dewan Putih
Kazakh Cyrillic Ақ Кеңес (Cyrillic) Aq Keñes (Latin)
Kannada ವೈಟ್ ಕೌನ್ಸಿಲ್
Korean 화이트위원회
Kurdish Spî Şûraya (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic ак кеңеш
Latvian Balts Padome
Lithuanian Balta Taryba
Macedonian Cyrillic Белата Советот
Malagasy Ny Filankevitry ny Fotsy
Malaysian Majlis Putih
Maltese Kunsill Abjad
Manx Coonseil Bane ?
Maori Kaunihera Ma
Marathi पांढरा परिषद
Mongolian Cyrillic Цагаан зөвлөл
Norwegian Hviterådet
Pashto سپین شورا
Persian شورای سفید
Polish Biała Rada
Portuguese Conselho Branco
Punjabi ਚਿੱਟੇ ਸਭਾ
Romanian Consiliul Alb
Romansh Cussegl Alv
Russian Белый Совет
Samoan Sinasina Fono
Scottish Gaelic Geal Chomhairle
Serbian Бели савет (Cyrillic) Beli savet (Latin)
Sindhi اڇو ڪائونسل
Sinhalese සුදු මන්ත්රණ සභාවයි
Slovak Biela Rada
Slovenian Bel zbor ?
Spanish Concilio Blanco
Sundanese Déwan Bodas
Swedish Vita Rådet
Tajik Cyrillic Шӯрои Сафед
Tamil வெள்ளை சபை
Telugu వైట్ కౌన్సిల్
Thai สภาสีขาว
Turkish Ak Divan
Turkmen Ak Maslahat
Ukrainian Cyrillic Біла Рада
Urdu سفید کونسل
Uzbek Оқ Кенгаши (Cyrillic) Oq Kengashi (Latin)
Vietnamese Hội đồng Trắng
Welsh Cyngor Gwyn
Wymysorys Wajs Rȫt
Yiddish ווייסע קאָונסיל
Yoruba Funfun Igbimo
Yucatec Maya Tsolxikin Sak


  1. It was also at about this time that Déagol the Stoor discovered the One Ring and was murdered by Sméagol.
  2. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
  4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  5. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014)
  6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014, Extended Edition)